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See also: re-ally




real +‎ -ly


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɹɪəli/, /ˈɹɪːlɪ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɹɪli/, /ˈɹili/, /ˈɹi.əli/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: re‧al‧ly
  • Rhymes: -iːli


really (comparative more really, superlative most really)

  1. (modal) Actually; in fact; in reality.
    "He really is a true friend." / "Really? What makes you so sure?"
  2. (informal, as an intensifier) Very (modifying an adjective); very much (modifying a verb).
    But ma, I really, really want to go to the show!
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 10, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      It was a joy to snatch some brief respite, and find himself in the rectory drawing–room. Listening here was as pleasant as talking; just to watch was pleasant. The young priests who lived here wore cassocks and birettas; their faces were fine and mild, yet really strong, like the rector's face; and in their intercourse with him and his wife they seemed to be brothers.
    • 1977, Agatha Christie, chapter 4, in An Autobiography, part II, London: Collins, →ISBN:
      There was also hairdressing: hairdressing, too, really was hairdressing in those times — no running a comb through it and that was that. It was curled, frizzed, waved, put in curlers overnight, waved with hot tongs; [].

Usage notesEdit

  • Like its synonyms, really is, in practice, often used to preface an opinion, rather than a fact. (See also usage notes for actually.)
Increasingly people are recognising what's really important is having children.[1]





  1. Indicating surprise at, or requesting confirmation of, some new information; to express skepticism.
    A: He won the Nobel Prize yesterday.
    B: Really?
  2. (colloquial, sarcastic, typically exaggerated question.) Indicating that what was just said was obvious and unnecessary; contrived incredulity
    A: I've just been reading Shakespeare - he's one of the best authors like, ever!
    B: Really.
  3. (colloquial, chiefly US) Indicating affirmation, agreement.
    A: That girl talks about herself way too much.
    B: Really. She's a nightmare.
  4. Indicating displeasure at another person's behaviour or statement.
    Well, really! How rude.



The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


  1. ^ Marriner, C (15-01-2005), “The Sydney Morning Herald article 'When men turn clucky'”, in (Please provide the title of the work)[1], The Sydney Morning Herald, retrieved 2009-04-12